marketing vps linkedin profileAs the head of marketing, other executives in your company look to you for best practices in using social media.

The problem is that marketing execs typically focus on promoting the company and client-facing executives – we don’t think about promoting ourselves. So often our profiles lag behind others. But this is one time we need to set a good example.

Besides, it’s a good way to build relationships that benefit the company and attract potential clients.

Consider that many buyers research a company before making contact. As an executive and representative of your company’s brand, you are well-positioned to take advantage of LinkedIn to tell your company’s story – and your own – with a strong profile.

Connections: Be well-connected

If you have more than 500 connections, LinkedIn will display “500+” otherwise it’ll list the number of connections you have. Work to attain more than 500 connections to show you’re well-connected.

People viewing your profile will check for connections they have in common with you. You’ll want to put effort into linking with the right people, especially other VPs and executives, key customers, partners, employees, the media and influencers in your industry.

Websites: Help market your brand

Since prospects want to learn more about your company, you’ll want to link to your company website. Don’t stop there. Share links to your company’s blog, forums, social media profiles and any other place you educate prospects about you and your company. You can enter up to three websites, Twitter and WeChat accounts.

Summary: Tell your business story

The experience section — much like a resume — doesn’t lend itself to telling a story. Resumes get the job done in outlining your career, but they don’t show how it all comes together. In the summary, you can write a narrative that highlights your experience, achievements and interests.

As a person who has been president, CMO and VP marketing and sales, Dean Landsman’s creative summary starts: “Media, Marketing and Digital Strategist. Innovator and action-oriented consultant. Adept and at ease using Left Brain+Right Brain thinking simultaneously.”

Gene Cornfield, CMO of Simplicate, Inc., packs a punch in just three paragraphs. The first paragraph says what he does, the second mentions what he’s done for B2B and B2C sectors as well as the industries. The last paragraph lists his achievements.

Let people get an idea of who you are by covering your goals for marketing, what’s important to you and what you’ve achieved. Some use a little humor or get personal by sharing the things they like to do outside of work.

Recommendations: Let others do the talking about your experience

In browsing many LinkedIn profiles, it’s surprising how many look almost empty. If your profile contains little, people won’t bother pursuing you or your company. Not when many others have more thorough profiles.

Executives, clients and prospective employees want to know what you’ve achieved. Ask yourself: As VP of marketing, what has my department accomplished that made me proud? What results did we get for our company and clients?

The best testimonials come from other people. Skills & Endorsements and Recommendations allow your connections to endorse your experience. Between these two sections, recommendations are more valuable. Endorsements only take a click while recommendations require more thought and effort.

If you look at two identical profiles except one has five recommendations and the other has none, which one would you contact? Work to obtain recommendations for your current and most recent jobs. People will be more impressed with recommendations from clients, executives, and partners.

You can just ask people for a recommendation. Most will write one. Another route is to write a recommendation for someone whose recommendation you’d want. People tend to return the favor. When you write a recommendation, LinkedIn usually emails the recipient to indicate a new recommendation has come in. It also asks if the recipient wants to write one back.

Media: Round out the profile with visuals

LinkedIn has improved the profile design for more visual appeal. You can add media, such as videos, slideshows, photos and articles to enhance your profile. Have you written articles or blog posts? Include them as they’ll support your knowledge and expertise.

Do you want media interviews or speaking engagements? Share articles that quote you as well as videos and slides of presentations you’ve given.

Following: Show an interest in clients and influencers

Would you like to connect with Warren Buffet or Richard Branson even if you don’t personally know them? You can … by following them. Following influencers, thought leaders in your industry, and companies doesn’t require a connection.

Why do it? People viewing your profile can see who and what companies interest you. Be sure to follow important clients and key partners too. Other people you want to follow include editors, journalists, and bloggers whose beats include software and marketing or they work for a marketing or tech publication.

A marketing VP of a software company would follow influencers and experts in software and technology. These could include CEOs, CMOs, CTOs, industry analysts, tech consultants, marketing professional organizations, and marketing VPs at other tech companies.

Join the conversation for more exposure

Since you can join 50 LinkedIn Groups, go for at least 20. Groups allow you to connect with people and build new relationships. If you don’t have 500 connections, groups will help you get there.

Search for “business” groups and LinkedIn returns more than 170K groups and “marketing” returns a little more than 55K. Where to start? Start with groups where you’ll find your clients and prospects.

Next, find groups in your industry and type of work you do. A VP of marketing in a computer software company targeting small businesses would look for groups focused on small business. There are even small business technology groups. You can get specific by using the keywords related to your business.

Don’t forget alumni groups and nonprofit organizations you support. You’ll have something in common with the people in these groups as soon as you join. It makes a great conversation starter.

What else can you do to elevate your VP of marketing LinkedIn profile?